IKEA's New GUNRID Curtains Will Clean the Air in Your Home

Air is a precondition for life. With the development of air cleaning textiles, IKEA wants to help people to a better life at home through cleaner air.

Mar 10, 2019

Having green plants in your home will purify the air and make it easier to breathe. But don’t worry if you don't have a green thumb. How about a pair of curtains instead?

The Swedish mega-retailer of home products IKEA has indoor air purification covered with their new GUNRID air cleaning curtains. The technology works like photosynthesis in plants and uses sunlight and a special chemical coating to destroy air pollutants.

The product developer for GUNRID Mauricio Affonso said in an IKEA press release, "For me, it's important to work on products that are relevant to people, and products that are actually solving a problem. I believe everyone deserves to breathe clean air." Affonso grew up in Brazil and remembers breathing polluted air that felt heavy and made him feel sick.

Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The statistics are staggering. One in eight people globally will die from pollution-related diseases. Over 4 million people die every year due to outside air pollution, and indoor air pollution causes an additional 4.3 million deaths. That's why IKEA decided they had to work on this issue.

Affonso and a team of engineers, designers, and specialists worked for a few years on a compact and affordable solution to clean indoor air. Working with universities in Europe and Asia, IKEA suppliers and innovators, the outcome of all the research was the air purifying textile GUNRID that breaks down common air pollutants

“We wanted to create a simple, convenient, and affordable way to clean air that wouldn’t take up much space in people’s homes,” said Affonso. “We were also curious about creating a product that is multifunctional and would help break down air pollutants that many air purifiers leave behind.”

The technology behind GUNRID is "unique and innovative," according to IKEA. A mineral-based photocatalyst coating is applied to the textile that is activated by light – both outdoor and indoor – and then breaks down pollutants like cooking odors and formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen.

"Photo catalysts are generally only activated by sunlight, but the coating we have developed together with our partners also reacts to indoor light," said Affonso.

The company announced that successful laboratory testing has been conducted to make sure the product is safe and that the next step is intensive chamber testing and home testing to confirm that GUNRID is effective in removing air pollutants.

IKEA expects the air purifying curtains will be available in stores next year. This is only the first of future air cleaning products to come. According to Fast Company, the same technology could be applied to other fabrics, and the giant retailer could eventually turn every sofa, bed, and linen into air cleaners too.

"Wouldn't it be great if everything in our homes could contribute to better air and a healthier life at home?" asked Alfonso.  

IKEA has other anti-air pollution projects that include its Better Air Now! an upcycling initiative that creates products out of rice straw (a rice byproduct that would be burned otherwise). This project is currently in the testing stage in India.

This big box company is into sustainability and having a positive impact on people and the planet we live on. The company is working on being 100 percent energy renewable and having sustainable sourced wood products by 2020. So, breathe easy knowing that IKEA's got your back.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.